Battle of Salamis

The Battle of Salamis (Ancient Greek: Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachia tēs Salaminos) was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 B.C.E., in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens. It marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece which had begun in 480 BC.

To block the Persian advance, a small force of Greeks blocked the pass of Thermopylae, while an Athenian-dominated Allied navy engaged the Persian fleet in the nearby straits of Artemisium. In the resulting Battle of Thermopylae, the rearguard of the Greek force was annihilated, whilst in the Battle of Artemisium the Greeks had heavy losses and retreated after the loss at Thermopylae. This allowed the Persians to conquer Boeotia and Attica. The Allies prepared to defend the Isthmus of Corinth whilst the fleet was withdrawn to nearby Salamis Island.

Although heavily outnumbered, the Greek Allies were persuaded by the Athenian general Themistocles to bring the Persian fleet to battle again, in the hope that a victory would prevent naval operations against the Peloponessus. The Persian king Xerxes was also anxious for a decisive battle. As a result of subterfuge on the part of Themistocles, the Persian navy sailed into the Straits of Salamis and tried to block both entrances. In the cramped conditions of the Straits the great Persian numbers were an active hindrance, as ships struggled to maneuver and became disorganised. Seizing the opportunity, the Greek fleet formed in line and scored a decisive victory, sinking or capturing at least 300 Persian ships.

As a result Xerxes retreated to Asia with much of his army, leaving Mardonius to complete the conquest of Greece. However, the following year, the remainder of the Persian army was decisively beaten at the Battle of Plataea and the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale. Afterwards the Persian made no more attempts to conquer the Greek mainland. These battles of Salamis and Plataea thus mark a turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars as a whole; from then onward, the Greek poleis would take the offensive. A number of historians believe that a Persian victory would have hamstrung the development of Ancient Greece, and by extension western civilization, and this has led them to claim that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.

Read more about Battle Of Salamis:  Sources, Background, Prelude, Strategic and Tactical Considerations, The Battle, Aftermath, Significance

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Themistocles - Political and Military Career - Second Persian Invasion of Greece - Battle of Salamis
... From Artemisium, the Allied fleet sailed to the island of Salamis, where the Athenian ships helped with the final evacuation of Athens ... However, Themistocles tried to convince them to remain in the Straits of Salamis, invoking the lessons of Artemisium "battle in close conditions works to our advantage" ... even after Athens had fallen to the Persians, and the Persian navy had arrived off the coast of Salamis, the Allied navy remained in the Straits ...
Battle Of Salamis - Significance
... The Battle of Salamis marked the turning point in the Greco-Persian wars ... After Salamis, the Peloponnesus, and by extension Greece as an entity, was safe from conquest and the Persians suffered a major blow to their prestige and morale (as well as severe material ... At the following battles of Plataea and Mycale, the threat of conquest was removed, and the Allies were able to go on the counter-offensive ...

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